The world’s largest car market is becoming a tough place to do business for legacy automakers. So much so that some are considering leaving the Chinese market entirely. Bloomberg reports that Stellantis is the latest automaker considering leaving China over business difficulties.
The problem it seems is China’s homegrown automakers. Chinese consumers aren’t taking to the foreign brands as their domestic brands roll out more and more competitive cars. After Stellantis closed its only Jeep plant in the country this summer, the company is now taking a look at its remaining brands in the Chinese market, Peugeot and Citroën.
Speaking at the Paris Auto Show, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said the company might take an “asset light” approach with these brands if the decision comes to scale back. “If we push ahead with this strategy — which is our strategy right now — then we don’t need plants in China”, he said. Instead of making vehicles in China, the company would import them from plants in the U.S. and Europe.
World tensions also have companies like Stellantis taking a wait-and-see approach. As Bloomberg pointed out, the Ukraine War and Russian sanctions have companies anxious to see if the same thing could happen with China if it decided to take any action against Tawain.
But Chinese automakers increasing competitiveness is worrying legacy automakers. No longer the butt of jokes across the world, Chinese automakers are actually making good cars. Good enough that Tavares wants to be petty.
Worries are mounting that Chinese carmakers are making inroads in Europe’s already competitive markets. Tavares, who blamed political meddling for Stellantis’s Jeep decision, on Monday said European authorities should introduce restrictions similar to ones foreign carmakers face in China.
Good luck, Stellantis. You'll need it.